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Sep 17 - 23, 2001

Preston University

Preston University, Pakistan organized a moot of its program directors and faculty to review the university's vision and mission, assess how far they were achieved, discuss how much more was needed to be done to sustain what had already been accomplished, and move forward to do what remained to be done.

It is Preston University's vision to become, in the next ten years, a premier international university at the forefront of knowledge creation and dissemination, and be regarded with respect and credibility in the global community. This was stated by Dr Abdul Basit, President Preston University and Chancellor/Rector of Preston Institute of Management, Science and Technology (PIMSAT) Karachi, while addressing a one-day Moot of the university's program directors and faculty organized at its newly built campus in Islamabad.

To create a teaching as well as work environment in which its students felt proud to pursue academic learning and personal development, and its employees and faculty felt satisfied and motivated with challenges and had the opportunity to develop their personal and professional potentials to the fullest extent, was yet another very important aspect of Preston's vision, Dr. Basit further said.

Talking about the mission of Preston University, Dr. Basit maintained that it was Preston's mission to commit itself to provide university education of the highest quality to prepare students for professional and managerial positions. He said it was also a part of the university's mission to offer students the opportunity for personal growth and development, skill enhancement, or professional job advancement through provision of high quality education. In his concluding remarks Dr. Basit said yet one more significant mission of Preston was to know and understand what its customers would want ten years hence, and to be able to develop appropriate degree and research programs to fulfil those needs perfectly. He said for successful attainment of this and other objectives highlighted in the university's vision and mission, its program directors, faculty and staff will have to work altruistically, and with utmost integrity and perseverance.

The Moot, besides a large number of regular and visiting faculty members of the university's Rawalpindi and Islamabad campuses, was also participated by the Program Directors of Preston Multan, Faisalabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta, Rawalpindi and Islamabad campuses.

ADB GUARANTEES POLITICAL RISK FOR TRADE FINANCE

At a ceremony arranged by Standard Chartered and Asian Development Bank (ADB), the latter signed an agreement with the Government of Pakistan and 8 international banks, to guarantee political risks associated with trade financing for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Pakistan. Standard Chartered Bank is the facility agent for the Political Risk Guarantee whereby ADB is guaranteeing a volume of $150 million for a period of up to six years. This marks the first time ADB has used its recently revamped Political Risk Guarantee to support trade finance.

Under this facility, ADB will guarantee payment to international banks confirming Letters of Credit (LCs) issued by banks operating in Pakistan. The guarantee applies if the issuing bank fails to pay under the L/C as a result of certain events, such as foreign exchange inconvertibility or transfer blockage. The guarantee will help lower the financing cost of imported raw materials for export production, and will ultimately help Pakistan become more export competitive. This will also help to keep Pakistan country limits open for international banks confirming import L/Cs, and ensure continued access to finance at competitive terms by Pakistan SMEs during periods of high political volatility.

"Without this facility, offshore suppliers that sell much needed imports to Pakistan may during periods of perceived political uncertainty encounter difficulties in obtaining confirmation of certain L/Cs issued by Pakistani Banks, or will do so at a high cost, thus penalizing Pakistan companies versus their international competitors due to political factors beyond their control," said Martin Endelman, ADB's Export Credit Specialist.

"An innovative aspect of this facility is that we are stripping out country risk from the LC and transferring this risk to ADB. Thus, ADB assumes the political risk while the banks carry the commercial risk. This makes best use of ADB's and the banks' respective strengths," said Werner Liepach, Senior Financial/Capital Markets Specialist and Mission Leader for this project. "Some of the international banks participating in the facility would not be here if they weren't covered by ADB's guarantee. Other banks are welcome to join us."

There are a total of 8 initial "founding banks" who have entered into a Master Risk Participation Agreement with ADB and Standard Chartered Bank, who has been appointed to manage the operational aspects of this facility out of its Dubai office on behalf of ADB.

"Standard Chartered Bank (SCB), through its Dubai operations, was chosen to be Asian Development Bank's preferred Agent for its Political Risk Guarantee (PRG) Facility in Pakistan after a careful and objective review of the proposals from a large number of international banks and political risk insurers. Reason for ADB's choice is SCB's extensive presence in ADB's Developing Market Countries (DMCs) as well as in the major international financial centers. SCB's long established service and extensive network in Pakistan was also a decisive factor in selecting SCB. ADB's evaluation process has been thorough and extensive to determine the Facility Agent which can sufficiently and effectively manage the Facility in behalf of ADB. This will ensure maximum accessibility to the facility by both international banks confirming eligible L/Cs and to Pakistani LC issuing banks and their customers" stated Martin Endelman, ADB's Export Credit Specialist.

Speaking at the ceremony, Azhar Hamid, Senior Group Representative, Standard Chartered Pakistan, emphasized the bank's commitment to Pakistan and the region, "Pakistan is an extremely important market for Standard Chartered. We are privileged to be part of such a unique project involving a partnership between ADB, the Government of Pakistan and 7 other international banks. We hope that this will enable exporters to enter new markets, improve product and price competitiveness resulting in the enhancement of Pakistan's exports."

The participating banks are Credit Agricole Indosuez, Deutsche Bank, ING Bank, Societe Generale, Standard Chartered Bank, Sumitomo Bank, Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation and Wells Fargo.

MCB — Opened a new centralized trade finance centre at Faisalabad

The Muslim Commercial Bank has opened a new "Centralized Trade Finance Centre" at Faisalabad, to facilitate trading activities such as LCs involving Foreign Exchange etc in keeping with the latest international banking trends to bring over-all efficiency in the trading activities.

The first such MCB Trade Finance Centre was opened in Faisalabad, Sheikh Mukhtar Ahmad, Director of the Bank and leading local businessman performed the inaugurating ceremony.

Mr. Shafiq A. Khan, Head of Operations of MCB, speaking on the occasion said that the first Centralized Trade Finance Centre would cater for the needs of branches in Faisalabad, Sahiwal, Sargodha, Jhang and Okara regions. The primary aim of the trade centre is to improve delivery standards and turn-around time. The opening of trade centres in other cities will soon follow and MCB is expected to centralise the entire Trade Finance activities in a handful of similar units across the country by middle of 2002. He hoped that the trade centre would help the traders in solving their problems promptly, ensure security and bring efficiency in operations. He stressed that opening of such centres would foster the MCB's resolution to remain the "Number One" service provider in the country.

Inbox Wins Intel Marketing Award

Inbox Business Technologies, manufacturers of Inbox brand of computers, was recently awarded the Intel Premier Provider Program Marketing Award at the Intel Solutions Summit 2001 ceremony in Singapore. The award was presented to Mir Nasir, Director Product Development & Network Solutions, Inbox Business Technologies.

Being an Intel Premier Provider, Inbox qualifies as a contestant for the annual Intel Premier Provider Program Marketing Award. The award presented by Christian Morales VP/GM Asia Pacific, Intel Semiconductor Ltd. recognized and approved the extensive marketing initiatives taken by Inbox and singled out the company from a comprehensive group of Intel Premier Providers in the entire Asia-Pacific region.

Mir Nasir stated that the awards' importance and relevance could not be overlooked. "This recognition will go a long way for us at Inbox. Intel's recognition reaffirms our approach to addressing the computing needs of the Pakistani geography and motivates us to deliver more than what is expected."

"Inbox was determined to undertake an extensive advertising and marketing campaign to strengthen the brand identity. Manufacturing and assembling computers locally was a huge development in the national computer industry. This progress was highlighted through a well-planned and well-laid out marketing plan — which included advertising campaigns as well as direct mailing and other initiatives. Our marketing approach was strategically developed keeping consumer needs in mind — we wanted to inform the public that they now had a choice while purchasing a branded machine," said Moin Iqbal, Director Marketing, Inbox.

Inbox Business Technologies designs, develops, manufactures and markets computer hardware and software solutions and services. The first company to achieve Intel® Premier Provider (IPP) status in Pakistan, Inbox is certified, trained and tested on 'end-to-end' technological solutions and has the advantage of early access to latest technology and information. For more information on the company and its products and services visit www.inboxbiz.com

HUSSAIN BASRAI ELECTED PRESIDENT OF ICAP

Mr. A. Hussain A. Basrai, Partner, Taseer Hadi Khalid & Co. has been elected as President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP) for the term 2001-2005.

He was elected to this position by the Council of ICAP in its first meeting held on September 6, 2001.

Other office bearers elected for the year 2001-2002 in the meeting are: Mr. Mujahid Esahi (Vice President - North); Mr. Abdul Rahim Suriya (Vice President - South).

Earlier elections of the Council of ICAP were held in which the following were elected as members: Mr. Imran Afzal; Mr. Syed Ahmad; Mr. A. Hussain A. Basrai; Mr. Mujahid Eshai; Mr. Nasimuddin Hadier; Mr. Fazal Mahmood; Mr. Khaliq-ur-Rahman; Mr. Zafar Iqbal Sobani; Mr. Abdul Rahim Suriya; Mr. Asad Ali Shah and Mr. Mohammad Shabber Zaidi.

HUBCO Donates Fans to Government Boys High School in Hub

The Hub Power Company Limited (HUBCO), the largest independent power producer in Pakistan, recently donated ceiling and bracket fans to the Government Boys High School, Hub Chowki, as part of its commitment to the local community.

The provision of the fans will fill the gap for required equipment at the local school, which caters to hundreds of young boys from the Hub region.

While presenting the fans to the Acting School Headmaster, Operations Director of HUBCO, Paul Chapman, said, "HUBCO has a commitment to the local community and this is fulfilled from time to time through various contributions such as this one. We are happy to be part of Pakistan and to be part of this very special community."

The Acting School Headmaster, Mr. Abdul Sattar, while expressing his gratitude to the Hub Power Company Limited, said, 'We are grateful to the management of HUBCO for their generosity and commitment to the people of Balochistan".

HUBCO is also an active participant in most activities of the local community around the Hub region and is popular among the locals for its continuous efforts to support and uplift the people of the region.

KASBIT 1st IT varsity to offer jobs

Khadim Ali Shah Bukhari Institute of Technology (KASBIT) has become the first IT university in Pakistan, which has entered into an agreement with an international placement company to arrange jobs for all its qualifying graduates internationally and mainly in the United States, Canada, Europe and the Middle East, according to a press release.

KASBIT, being a part of the K.A.S.B. Group of Companies, has further been sanctioned 100 scholarships for qualifying students by the Khadim Ali Shah Bukhari Foundation.

KASBIT is recognized by University Grants Commission and chartered by the Government of Sindh as a degree awarding institute.